First Time Apricot/Plum grafter - leafed out rootstocks

Hello everyone, I’ve followed all the thread on this forum for years and have gained invaluable knowledge towards my orcharding pursuits. I thank everyone in advance for their help with this conundrum I’m facing.

I’ve grafted apples before successfully for 2 years now and decided to try my hand at some plums and apricots. I ordered marianna 26-24 rootstocks for the grafting and they arrived today. 4 of them were already leafed out (some significantly), and 4 of them were still mostly dormant. Here’s a photo of the two types:

I’ve put my scions in water overnight to rehydrate them before doing the grafting. The temperatures outdoors are going to be highs of 70 degrees and overcast for the next 3 days in a row. I was hoping to do the work tomorrow since it’ll be a nice cloudy day.
My question is - how should I treat the leafed out rootstocks vs the still dormant. Is one better to use than the other for apricots which are trickiest to graft. Any advice?

I have access to an indoor grow tent that currently sits at 80 degrees and almost 100% humidity which I could use to put the fabric pots in with the completed grafts. I also could leave them outside, or a room temperature closet at 70 degrees and 30% humidity.

Any help is much appreciated!

I think highs of 70F is not enough- but your indoor grow tent sounds great. I have failed miserably at grafting cots, so I’m an expert on failure, and I think low temps were the biggest part of it. I think there’s a sweet spot in the upper 70’s, but wait for others!

Not sure how much the humidity matters if your scions and rootstocks are well hydrated, and you use wax or parafilm well. My thought is that it won’t be much of an issue.

Thanks so much for the help. I’m wondering if I should use the leafed out rootstocks first or the ones that aren’t leafed out first or both and see what happens.

I also have plums to graft, have you had any success with plums (Japanese hybrids)?

I need to steer you to anybody else- lots of folks here have more experience and expertise than I (I won’t try to list them or I’ll leave out somebody!). But I though I’d help you keep the thread alive until one of them notices.

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I am no expert. I go by my own experience.
The good news is plum is as easy as apple to graft. I have no problem with apricot grafts but many said it is difficult.

The not so good news is your rootstocks have not established. It makes grafting them now iffy esp. the one that have leafed out. Can you plant them in ground and graft them next year or try other method like T budding in late summer?

I agree plum isnt terribly hard, grafted coe’s in 50-ish highs (thx tippy) and it is pushing buds through parafilm.

I dont mind bench or doing new rootstocks, though i agree established stock takes better and grows faster—i have never been able to just watch the rootstock though. Patience isnt one of my virtues.

As far as your original queries personally i would:

Graft away, doing 3 or 4 apricot on leafed out stock and plums on 3 or 4 dormant.

Graft now.

Parafilm wrap

Store trees in pots outside if its 70, on north side of house where it is somewhat cooler but less prone to frying in sun.

Warm and humid isnt bad but for those plants i dont know that it helps significantly enough that i would risk moving them, possible root issues w the heat and humidity, etc…


I think what I’m going to do is take the scion wood and graft some of it to the rootstocks and see how that goes and take some an graft to an old, established, lopsided Mount Royal plum tree as a backup (for the plum grafts).


Is just use both and see what happens. I’d imagine you’ll have better luck on the ones that haven’t leafed out much because they’ll still have a good amount of stored energy in their roots. The fully leafed out one that have undeveloped root systems probably used most of their stored energy already and might struggle to get new growth going.

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Based on my experience the leafed-out ones are better, they have sap flowing well. The ones not leafed out yet will be slower to take.


Thanks for all the suggestions and tips. I grafted them today and placed the grow bags in the grow tent which is at 77 degrees. We’ll see what happens. When the temperature warms up outside I’ll try to do some backup grafts with the leftover material on some plum trees that could use a few new varieties attached to them.

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FYI. I have grafted plums (in ground trees) when leaves start to push and weather is around 50’s for the past 4 - 5 years. Almost all grafts took. The only few that did not take were because of poor quality scionwood. I grafted about 40 scions of plums (Euro and Asian), hybrids, pluots, plumcots, etc.

I’d say low temp is not an issue when grafting plums. How well your new rootstocks establish is the main focus here.

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It’s been exactly 2 weeks since I grafted the apricots to the leafed-out and still dormant rootstocks, and placed the grow bags with the grafts into a 75-80 degree artificial light 80-90% humidity grow tent. They haven’t moved from the grow tent or been touched in any way in 14 days (except to water them). Here’s 3 of the apricot grafts. (#1 and #3 are from the leafed out rootstocks and #2 is from a dormant rootstock):

I moved them outside today. Do you think putting them in partial sun/partial shade on my porch is the right choice at this stage? Does this degree of leaf growth signal a form or success in your opinion? or is it still to early to tell?

Thanks again for all of your advice and suggestions.


All of these look like successful takes to me.


If they all succeed (there’s a fourth that is less far along as these three but is still leafing out slowly) then I guess it didn’t matter that 1/2 the rootstocks were leafed out and 1/2 were dormant. The results appear to be the same for both conditions.

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I have 2 Shaa-Kar-Pareh Apricots on Marianna root stock. The root stocks appear to be sending up strong shoots from below and I was wondering if I could cut these off with roots and make new apricots/plumcots out of them via grafting? Has anyone else tried this?

I think if you have sufficient root mass, it probably will work. My marianna suckers are useless.

Actually I just looked and the most precocious one is on Citation. Does that make a difference?

What did you mean about your marianna suckers being useless? I’m asking because I dug up some Marianna rootstocks during dormancy to use as independent rootstocks this spring. I got some roots with them, but they were also attached (and therefore being fed by) a very large root from the large Marianna mother tree (well, rootstock) so I’m anxious to see if the few roots I got along with the suckers will be enough to help them live, or if cutting them off the big, main root, was enough to kill them. I’ve done this with some wild plum suckers and had good luck, but haven’t done it with Marianna.

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I meant mine were attached to the large roots without having roots of their own. I could not separate them from those big roots. If I could, those suckers would be useful, of course.

Maureen - citation appears to have dwarfing effects. I have not heard from many people in the east who have their fruit trees on citation.

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That’s interesting. Both trees appear to have equal vigor and to be similar in size. I’ll take photos and post them later. Thank you for weighing in on this!